Few surprises in Alberta debate

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Brian Mason, Wildrose Alliance Party leader Danielle Smith, Progressive Conservative leader Alison Redford and Liberal leader Raj Sherman take their positions prior to a televised leaders' debate in Edmonton April 12, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber


EDMONTON -- There were few surprises but strong performances by all candidates in Thursday's Alberta provincial leadership debate.

The use of Alberta's oil wealth, health care, education and individual rights emerged as top topics in the debate.

Frontrunners Premier Alison Redford of the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party's Danielle Smith exchanged barbs on the use of Alberta's oilsands wealth, while all candidates took a shot at Smith's "Dani Dollars" program.

Recent Tory missteps weren't ignored - the "no-meet" committee got plenty of attention, and NDP Leader Brian Mason was the lone candidate calling for increased civility among candidates.

He joined Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, looking for votes in the centre with calls for fixing MLA pay.

All three opposition parties called for a rollback of the 30% cabinet pay hike of 2008, with Redford saying she'd wait for Justice John Major's MLA pay report, due shortly after the election.


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